Marketing ostriches

Far too many marketers keep their heads buried in sand when it comes to one key discipline – finance. This ostrich like mentality is understandable, but to achieve significant career progress, marketers must get braver and face up to reality.

Who says finance is a key discipline for marketers? Not just me it seems. Leading marketing recruiters f1 Recruitment have talked extensively with their clients and the feedback is the same. To be taken seriously, marketers must be able to talk the language of the boardroom and that language is finance.

I was delighted to read an excellent blog piece written for f1 by Anne Godfrey, CIM’s dynamic CEO.  Anne highlights the importance of numeracy and how the new CIM syllabus (to be launched in September) reflects this core discipline.

As a CIM approved study centre coming to terms with the new CIM syllabus, we are genuinely enthused by what we have seen so far. Certainly the CIM’s research programme that underpins the new syllabus was really thorough. In fact we understand it was CIM’s largest research initiative in their 102-year history.  We have been impressed how well the new CIM syllabus addresses the real skills needs of employers across a wide range of industries. In particular, we like the integration of digital and traditional off-line marketing.

However, whilst data and numeracy feature prominently (especially at Diploma levels), being picky we don’t believe that the CIM has gone far enough with finance.   According to our own research (and talking to leading recruitment agents like f1), it is not enough for marketers just to be aware of finance; the best marketers need to be fluent enough to present their business cases confidently to C-suite members.

What to do? Do we add more financial content to the new syllabus when we come to deliver this part of the syllabus? Not really feasible given the course delivery time constraint. Also what about those marketers who are already CIM qualified on the old syllabus? So, we have collaborated with f1 to develop a special two-day programme to enable marketers to truly understand the core principles of finance.

On a personal note, I only truly began to understand finance was when I set up my own business.   With this is mind we decided to develop the course in a unique way. Unlike most finance courses, this programme starts with candidates building their own business models from scratch. Working in small teams the candidates work out the costs, pricing and revenue streams for their new customers.  On day two, the trainer extrapolates the data to at least one year of trading. From here our new entrepreneurs start to understand whether they have made any money (or not) and whether their expectations were realistic. Now candidates have a feel for their businesses we can start to introduce the classic reporting tools – notable P&L and Balance sheets, plus basic financial ratios.   The course concludes withdragon’s den pitch to potential investors.

We hope that this finance course will play its part alongside CIM’s new syllabus in helping marketers to be taken far more seriously and more importantly to stop being ostriches.

Quentin Crowe
Managing Director
The Marketers’ Forum Limited

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About the Author

Quentin Crowe

Quentin Crowe

Managing Director & Founder of The Marketers’ Forum. Quentin has over 20 year marketing experience in the insurance, sports and education sectors. He has taught every level of CIM since 2002 as well as being a visiting lecturer at Greenwich University. He worked in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market for 13 years before setting up his own consultancy business in 2000.